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This paper was part of the 2014-2015 Penn Humanities Forum on Color. Find out more at


In Ecuador, a nation with a large Indigenous population, the question of education is at once political and revolutionary. In the 1930s, Indigenous activists learned tactics from communist and socialist unions and set up many schools in regional groups. A generation of activists, led by Dolores Cacuengo made tremendous strides. In 1988, the Ministry of Education officially assumed responsibility for Indigenous education under coalition pressure, but it has since failed to capture the nuances of the nation’s Indigenous communities and their expectations for education. Meanwhile, the Indigenous groups have mobilized into a political party that hopes to redefine Ecuadorian nationality against centuries of structural oppression. They are waging vital fights for resources and respect.



Date Posted: 18 November 2016